Retail sales in record fall

Retail sales fell 9.8% in April
Empty shopping malls tell a story

Figures released today by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show retail sales in Spain fell by 9.8% in April, compared to the same period in 2011, showing the biggest fall since the figures started being collected in 2003.

Summary of results

  • The General Retail Trade Index at constant prices showed an interannual variation of -11.3% in April, more than seven points below that registered in March.
  • The average rate of retail sector sales stood at –5.9% during the first quarter of the year,as compared with the same period of 2011.
  • All Large chain stores experienced a decrease in sales, as compared with the same month of 2011.
  • Employment in the retail sector decreased 0.9% as compared with April 2011.
  • All Autonomous Communities showed negative interannual variations in their retail sales.
  • Employment decreased in all autonomous communities, except in La Rioja.

Evolution of trade, in general and by type of product

Sales in retail trade at constant prices (that is, after eliminating the prices effect) registered an interannual variation of -11.3% in April, indicating a decrease of 7.3 points, as compared with the rate from March.

Sales, excluding service stations, presented an annual rate of -11.1%. The breakdown of these sales by type of product showed a negative rate in food products (-6.7%) and non-food products (-14.7). Among the latter, Household equipment (–20.2%) registered the greatest decrease.

In turn, sales in service stations, after adjusting the prices effect, decreased 11.3%, as compared with April 2011.

The average rate of the General Retail Trade Index during the first quarter of the year presented a –5.9% variation as compared with the same period last year. By type of product this rate was negative in food products and in non-food products.

Evolution of trade, adjusted for the calendar effect

After adjusting the calendar effect, that is, the difference between the number of working days in a given month in different years, the Retail Trade Index registered an interannual rate of –9.8% in April, six points below that registered in March.

Evolution of employment, by distribution class

The employment index in the Retail Trade sector in April showed an annual rate of –1.2%, two tenths below that registered in March. Employment decreased 0.2% in Service stations.

By distribution class, only Large chain stores registered a positive interannual rate, 0.4%.

In the retail sector as a whole, average employment registered a rate of −1.1% in the first quarter of the year, as compared with the same period the previous year.

Results by Autonomous Community. Variation rates in sales 

Retail sales decreased in the interannual rate in all Autonomous Communities in April. The greatest decrease was registered in Castilla-La Mancha (−14.6%).

Extremadura (−8.3%), Canarias (-8.7) and Illes Balears (−8.8%) showed the lowest decreases.

You can download the complete report here: Retail Trade Indices – April 2012